J. Neurochem. (2010) 112, 1415–1430.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an age-related neurodegenerative disease increasingly recognized as one of the most important medical problems affecting the elderly. Although a number of drugs, including several cholinesterase inhibitors and an NMDA receptor antagonist, have been approved for use, they have been shown to produce diverse side effects and yield relatively modest benefits. To overcome these limitations of current therapeutics for AD, extensive research and development are underway to identify drugs that are effective and free of undesirable side effects. Certain naturally occurring dietary polyphenolic phytochemicals have received considerable recent attention as alternative candidates for AD therapy. In particular, curcumin, resveratrol, and green tea catechins have been suggested to have the potential to prevent AD because of their anti-amyloidogenic, anti-oxidative, and anti-inflammatory properties. These polyphenolic phytochemicals also activate adaptive cellular stress responses, called ‘neurohormesis’, and suppress disease processes. In this commentary, we describe the amyloid-β-induced pathogenesis of AD, and summarize the intracellular and molecular targets of selected dietary phytochemicals that might slow the progression of AD.